The Australian government is investing AU$2 billion (US$1.4 billion) to extend its assistance program for apprentices and trainees until the end of March 2021.
In April, the Australian government committed AU$1.3 billion (US$902.6 million), covering apprentice wages from January 1 to September 30.
The new fund, dubbed JobTrainer, pledges AU$1.5 billion (US$1.05 billion), to keep current apprentices and trainees employed, with a further AU$500 million (US$349.03 million) reserved for prospective apprentices, according to the Conversation news website.
The new JobTrainer initiative comes as major retailers like Woolworths are recruiting HVAC&R apprentices.
Businesses can apply for the JobTrainer program at the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.
JobTrainer will ensure “up to an additional 340,700 training places to help school leavers and job seekers access short and long courses to develop new skills in growth sectors and create a pathway to more qualifications,” according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s website.
In April and May 2020, the number of new apprentices andtrainees in Australia fell 33% compared to the same months in 2019, with many apprenticeships being cancelled, according to the National Australian Apprenticeship Association (NAAA).
The NAAA has welcomed the stimulus package, noting thecriteria for eligibility is expanded from “businesses that have less than 20 employees to those that have 199 employees or less,” according to an NAAA press release.
“This will cover around 90,000 businesses that employ apprentices.”